It does not appear that glyphosate builds up in the body. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, most glyphosate that is ingested or absorbed by the body passes relatively quickly through the system and exits the body through urine and waste.
However, a 2019 study by the University of California San Diego linked glyphosate to liver disease, finding higher glyphosate residue levels in subjects diagnosed with a type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Glyphosate is a popular herbicide found in over 750 products sold in the United States. One of the most popular products containing glyphosate is Roundup, manufactured by agricultural-chemical giant Monsanto.
Glyphosate a Possible Cause of Cancer
Even though glyphosate has not been shown to build up in the body, some scientists believe exposure to the chemical may cause cancer. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
People regularly exposed to glyphosate, like farmworkers, have been found to have higher levels of the herbicide in their bodies, but more research is needed. A 2018 University of Washington study found that agricultural workers who were regularly exposed to glyphosate were 41 percent more likely to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).
The use of glyphosate has been restricted or banned in more than a dozen countries. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment added glyphosate to the state’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer in 2017.
Glyphosate Exposure in Humans
Glyphosate has been used as a weed killer in the U.S. since 1974. According to the IARC, it has the highest production rate of any herbicide worldwide. It is used most often in agricultural settings but also in forestry and home settings, such as lawns and gardens. In addition to Roundup, other well-known products containing glyphosate include Ortho GroundClear, Dow AgroScience Rodeo, and Ranger Pro Herbicide.
The use of glyphosate in farming has steadily increased since its introduction. This increase is due to Monsanto’s introduction of genetically modified “Roundup Ready” seeds. These seeds have resistance to Roundup, enabling farmers to spray their fields for weeds without worrying about killing the crops.
Because its use is so prevalent, glyphosate can be found in groundwater and dust, and it can remain in the soil for up to six months. Fruits and vegetables can absorb glyphosate and then ingested by humans. Farmworkers can inhale glyphosate when sprayed or absorb it through the skin and eyes. Glyphosate use is so widespread that some scientists now believe that nearly everyone has been exposed at some point in their lives.
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Signs of Glyphosate Exposure
Contact with products containing glyphosate may cause irritation to the eyes and skin. Inhaling glyphosate can irritate the nose, mouth, and throat. Ingesting products with glyphosate can be fatal in large doses, but typically when swallowed, glyphosate can cause the following symptoms:
- Increased saliva
- Nausea and vomiting
- Burns in the mouth and throat
Pets that have contact with plants recently sprayed with glyphosate may experience drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, or a loss of appetite. They may also appear sleepy.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. This system spreads throughout our bodies and is responsible for fighting diseases. NHL causes tumors to grow from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. NHL generally develops in the lymph nodes but can spread to other areas of the lymphatic system, such as the tonsils, spleen, and bone marrow.
Glyphosate does not build up in the body, but recent research studies indicate that regular exposure increases the risk for developing NHL. Other risk factors include age (over 60), immunosuppressive medications, and exposure to certain viruses and bacteria, like HIV or Epstein-Barr infection.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of NHL include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Persistent fatigue
- Night sweats
- Chest pain, trouble breathing, and coughing
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin, armpits, or neck
If you experience these symptoms, you might want to see a doctor for more information and testing.
What to Do if You Believe Glyphosate Caused Your Cancer
Pharmaceutical giant Bayer owns Monsanto, the maker of Roundup. In recent years, tens of thousands of lawsuits filed against Bayer allege that its weed killer caused plaintiffs’ NHL. Multiple juries have ordered Bayer to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.
You may be entitled to seek damages through a civil lawsuit if you have been exposed to glyphosate and developed NHL. You may be able to seek awards to help you cover your medical treatment costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
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How Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm believes you should not have to suffer because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. If chemicals put into the environment by a large corporation have harmed you, that corporation should be held responsible. We may be able to help you recover compensation. To learn more, contact our legal team risk-free at (800) 794-0444.